On a very hot Saturday morning in November the people of the village of Lokpano, Togo began to make their way to the local school to attend a special church service that marks an important day in the history of the Lutheran church in this community.

In 1980 the late Rev. Walt DeMoss, crossed from Ghana into Togo to share the gospel and offer pastoral care and mercy to Bi-Moba refugees fleeing from a tribal conflict that they lost with the neighboring Konkomba. When one looks at a modern map today, one could say that Rev. DeMoss switched mission fields; but actually, he stayed with the same people group. The Bi-Moba have lived in the same general northern area of modern day Ghana and Togo for generations - since well before colonial borders cut through the middle of their lands. Rev. DeMoss trained evangelists, initiated agricultural projects, established a school and a clinic, and served as the supervisor and spiritual father for numerous Bi-Moba who are still in the Lutheran church today. The geo-graphical center of this work was in the village of Lokpano. From here missionaries were sent out to plant other Lutheran parishes and mentor local evangelists in the northern part of Togo.

After the departure of Rev. DeMoss and the sizable team of LCMS World Mission American missionaries in the early 2000's, the task of pastoral care and evangelism was left to the Togolese. The CLET was formed to help prepare local pastors for this task. Although new parishes continued to be established and more pastors were trained and ordained for this Ministry, the village of Lokpano was left without a full-time, called pastor. The little Lokpano flock was served by evangelists and ordained pastors from other villages who came on intermittent visits. But on November 16th of this year, the prayers of the Lutherans in Lokpano and the missionaries who served here for many years were finally answered: the Lokpano parish was getting their first ordained pastor!

As the sun began to heat up the morning air, village chiefs and elders, local authorities, church choirs, and pastors from the Lutheran parishes and pastors from other protestant congregations, began to assemble and take their seats. The Togolese authorities also sent armed soldiers to ensure security. The music began and more and more people came to experience this important day. The service of the Word and the rite of ordination lasted for more than three hours. Rev. President Lambon LAR of the Lutheran Church of Togo conducted the rite of ordination. Alongside scripture readings, preaching, and prayers, were also dances, offerings of gifts for the parish and for the new pastor and his family, and official greetings from local authorities and pastors. A special greeting was shared by the pastor and church leaders from the sister Lutheran congregation from just across the border in Bunkpurugu, Ghana. This was a wonderful sign of direct, inter-Africa church support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana toward their brethren in the Lutheran Church of Togo. After the service, guests were invited to share a meal of rice, fufu (pounded sweet potato), green sauce, pork, and chokpah (the local millet beer).

Vicar DJEKOAB Yantch‚naen and his wife A‹cha had left Lokpano back in 2012 to begin studies at CLET. I had the privilege to teach DJEKOAB in some of the first classes I taught just after arriving in the mission field. He successfully completed the three years of study at CLET in June of 2015 and then worked faithfully to complete his vicarage by June of 2017. It had taken over two years for the local parish and the national church to plan the ordination. By Western standards that may seem a bit strange. Why the delay? In Africa there are many dynamics in play with status, resources, and decision-making processes. Generally speaking, the manner in which you pursue a goal with others, how you speak with and work with others in their relation to you and other authorities, is even more important than the goal itself. We are thankful that the ordination was planned and that it was done in a way that had all pastors and levels of authority of the national church and local parish involved. It was a true joy to be present for this day with the ELT pastors and members, along with fellow missionaries Rev. Micah Wildauer and Valerie Stonebreaker. Catechism in Moba-Ben for the public examination of Confirmation.

Although this special day and celebration have passed, we rejoice that now the Lokpano parish has their pastor and can continue to celebrate the blessing we all have in faith in Jesus Christ that prepares us for the celebration and feast before the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end. We pray that the Lord guard and keep Pastor DJEKOAB in his Ministry in Lokpano for many years to come.

In Christ,

Rev. Jacob W. Gaugert
Centre Luth‚rien D'tudes Theologiques
B.P. 53

Togocell # (+228) 93 43 95 26
T-Mobile Intl. # (262) 271-3813

About our Missionary ...

Reverend Jacob W. Gaugert was ordained in April, 2010. at Dr. Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis., in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in theological and classical languages. He attended Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana for two years and spent an acedemic year as Vicar for St. Mary's Lutheran Church in Berlin, Germany. He received his M. Div. degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2010. He served as Vacancy Pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Whiting, Indiana from 2011-2013.

In 2013, Reverend Gaugert answered a call as a career missionary to teach at a Lutheran Seminary in Dapaong, Togo (West Africa).